PCT Day 83, SoBo Day 2

July 4
Mile 2382.5 to mile 2359.9, 22.6 PCT miles +0.2 miles off trail for water, 22.8 miles total
PCT miles: 650
Running total: 750.8
Happy 4th of July!
We woke up early, recovered our food that was thankfully not attacked by any woodland creatures overnight, ate breakfast, then left camp around 0745.

I was in an amazing mood. It was again cloudy and cool, but I felt like we were hiking through an enchanted forest! I’m not entirely convinced that fairies DON’T build their fairy fortresses in old tree trunks and stumps in Washington- it is so mystical!!

A complete turn around from the day before, this morning I was loving life, loving the trail, and loving the moment!! And just minutes after telling Matthew how happy I was, I slipped in a creek, soaking the entire right side of my body and my phone! I had just taken a picture of the waterfall and instead of taking the ten seconds to fumble around and put my phone back into its place, I decided to hold onto it until I got out of the mosquito zone. There was literally ONE step I needed to take to cross the creek but splattttttt.

Less than 20 minutes after shaking off the fall, I proceeded to get stung by a yellow jacket. This all happened before 9am but I was still all smiles!!
We have started this trail three times now, and all three times Mother Nature has given us a quick reminder that she’s in charge and a force not to be reckoned with- I appreciate the gentle reminders (these two things + two rattlers on our two starts in the desert!) – she could have been a LOT less subtle! To show my appreciation to her, I have been collecting and throwing out trail garbage for the past 650+ miles- I need all of the good trail karma I can get!!
We stopped for a quick second breakfast/first lunch break around 1115- since it was cold and wet, we didn’t sit for long! Gone are the days of multiple 2 hour lunches- between the cold and the bugs, it’s just not enjoyable!! BUT, it’s a good thing, ’cause these days it’s taking Matt and I a bit longer to crunch the miles…
We ended up taking a second lunch a few hours later, but again, didn’t break for long!!
We met a man named Skywalker who told us he had been section hiking for the last few days and barely saw another human OR the sun. He said he got excited that morning when the sun came out and he saw his shadow for the first time in days!! Yes, we saw the sun!

Second day impression of PCT Washington: it’s wet and green! And the climbs are steep and totally kicking my butt! If I don’t have buns of steel by the time the Washington section is complete…good golly!! AND, each day feels like a million days. In the desert, the weather didn’t change quickly for us: it was either uncharacteristically cold, windy, and rainy ALL day, or hot and sunny all day. In Washington, we are in a cloud one moment, getting sunburned the next, so we throw on sunscreen only to have it start raining, then wait! Is that a view? Yep! So beautiful, let me take a picturree..oh, shit- back to cloud again. It’s hard to keep the days straight when they are ever changing but also the same as the day before! But don’t get me wrong, it’s still frickin gorgeous and I’m so happy to be here!

As we hiked on we met another teacher couple, Solar and Lunar, heading NoBo through Washington into Canada. They then plan to flip back to the Washington and Oregon border to hike SoBo to the US/Mexico border- I thought their plan was genius!! They will get through Washington easily now that the snow is mostly gone and before the dreaded fire season, they will hit Oregon without snow and fires, and the Sierra will be a peace of cake by the time they get there!! AND they get to end at a monument! Bloody brilliant!!!

Solar and Lunar are a super cool couple- they honeymooned on the Appalachian Trail 12 years before and had always talked about completing the Triple Crown (the AT, PCT, and the CDT)- so, they recently quit their jobs (Mrs. Eclipse is a high school English teacher and Mr. is a special education teacher!) and are headed out on a 3-5 year adventure!! After completing the PCT they will head out of the country for a bit, then come back to do the CDT next year, followed by more adventure!! I look forward to following their adventure on instagram, @teachersonhiatus.

After leaving the badass teachers, we took a short off-trail detour for water then continued on for another 4 miles to our campsite for the night, arriving a little after 7. There we met Shotgun, another flipper who took some time off trail. He had hiked NoBo from Mexico and went through part of the Sierra, took 5 weeks off to road trip literally everywhere, then flipped up to northern Washington. There, he hiked the 30 miles north to tag the border then turned around and continued SoBo. We chatted briefly before he returned to his tent to escape the cold and bugs while Matt and I feasted and were feasted on by bugs.

Our new routine: set up tent, throw on our rain gear for bug protection, take out all of our food and scented items and throw in ursack, get our dinner soaking/cooking, set up our sleeping pads and bags, eat, tie our ursacks to a tree, then sleep. We are adjusting to life in bear and feisty-mice territory. (Back in the desert we got in a habit of setting up our tent and sleeping stuff, climbing into bed, and eating out the side of our tent before falling asleep with our food bags between us…)

Wait, gosh- in addition to hot chocolate, I really hope bears don’t like butter from the pasta water I spilled on myself…
Milestone! We hit 650 miles on-trail!!

2 thoughts on “PCT Day 83, SoBo Day 2

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